Cloud // Cloud Storage
06:48 PM
Connect Directly
Core System Testing: How to Achieve Success
Oct 06, 2016
Property and Casualty Insurers have been investing in modernizing their core systems to provide fl ...Read More>>

Microsoft Connects Office To Facebook

Docs for Facebook, Microsoft's latest online document creation and sharing service, promises productivity in a social context.

Microsoft on Wednesday gave a gift to Facebook users: the ability to create and share Microsoft Office documents through Docs for Facebook.

The actual announcement came from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook's f8 developer conference in San Francisco, a sign that Microsoft and Facebook remain united in their opposition of Google.

Although Microsoft does not specifically mention Google Docs, Word's most prominent challenger, Google's online document creation and collaboration tool clearly weighs heavily on the minds of Microsoft managers.

"There are other services out there that let you create and collaborate on documents," concedes Pat Kinsel, a program manager at Microsoft's Future Social Experiences (FUSE) Labs, in an online summary. "And there are others that support sharing, discussing and discovering documents. But what makes Docs special is it's the only service that supports the complete document lifecycle."

Docs for Facebook, now in public beta, was built on the Facebook platform using Microsoft's forthcoming Office 2010 Web technology. It's goal is to bring the simplicity of Facebook's sharing system -- news feeds and activity streams -- to Word files, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations.

In a phone interview, Lili Cheng, general manager of FUSE Labs, stressed that Docs was designed around how Facebook users shared documents. Document sharing, she said, has tended to be quite complex and Docs aims to remedy that.

Users can create, view, edit, and share Office documents through, at no charge. They can also use Microsoft Office as an editing environment, if they need a more sophisticated set of tools and options.

Were the feature set the same, the incentive to purchase Office would be significantly diminished.

Cheng said that the goal was not to compete with Office. She also said it was too early to tell whether Docs would be made accessible using authentication systems other than Facebook, such as Windows Live.

One goal of Docs appears to be exposing young Facebook users to Office and the concept of software in a box that can be bought at a store.

Cheng suggested that there's a generation of people who have grown up on the Web who might not be familiar with Office.

Think of Docs for Facebook as the gateway drug to Office 2010.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Google in the Enterprise Survey
Google in the Enterprise Survey
There's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity ­products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent ­mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers ­distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.